Fans hail ‘world-class’ Tessema as best AFCON referee

FANS have praised referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa for his officiating during Senegal’s semi-final win over Burkina Faso at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Ethiopian overturned two penalty decisions to Senegal after VAR reviews in a dramatic first half.

Firstly, Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi collided with Senegal midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate in the box.

But the shotstopper appeared to get to the ball with a punch and Tessema ruled no penalty after reviewing the collision on the pitchside monitor.

Ten seconds before the break, Edmond Tapsoba was booked for handball and the referee pointed to the spot.

However, after another review Tessema overturned the booking and the penalty decision.

Footballing fans took to Twitter to hail his officiating, praising his decision to overturn the penalty calls.

One posted, “The referee in the Burkina Faso Senegal game is having such a good game. Has got right all the key decisions and is clearly in charge. Refreshing to see at AFCON.’

“I’ve seen this referee doing a couple of games at the AFCON semi-final tonight,’ wrote another.

“I like his style; totally officious, quick to reach for his cards and blow for a penalty, and just as quick to change his mind once he sees the VAR.

‘Likes a high waistband too. Top reffing.’

‘Fantastic refereeing the referee to cancel the yellow card and Penalty which had been given for Senegal,’ said another fan.

The tournament had been labelled an ‘absolute joke’ because referees were ‘spoiling’ the tournament with red cards.

AFCON has produced 13 sending offs so far, as many as the last four tournaments combined and fans have been left furious.

Meanwhile, Tunisia’s 1-0 defeat to Mali in the group stages produced a massive refereeing blunder.

Zambian official Janny Sikazwe sparked controversy when he ended the group stage fixture 13 seconds early on January 12, having also been forced to restart the game after blowing his full-time whistle five minutes before the full 90 was up.

The error left fans in disbelief but they witnessed a ‘refreshing’ refereeing display from Tessema on Wednesday night as many hailed him ‘the best referee of the tournament’.

‘It seems tonight in AFCON we have ourselves a honest referee. Very commendable,’ said one fan.

‘Today’s AFCON referee has been the best in this tournament,’ wrote another.

While another agreed, posting: ‘Tessema is the referee of the #AFCON 2021 tournament. Very friendly and extremely cautious.’

Other supporters believed that the Premier League’s officials could learn from Tessema, claiming the VAR referees were ‘miles ahead’.

One supporter wrote: ‘AFCON VAR referees are miles ahead of their EPL equivalents…top officiating!’

‘PL referees can learn a thing or two from these AFCON refs regarding the use of VAR,’ said another.

‘Premier League referees should watch this ongoing AFCON game and learn from the referees. He’s having a world class performance,’ added one fan.